A court in Krishnagar in West Bengal on Tuesday disposed of a rape case only 15 days after the crime was committed, making it possibly the fastest delivery of justice in a country with a backlog of millions of cases.
Both the prosecution and the judge acted with lightning speed to make it look like a judicial fairy tale.
Additional sessions judge (second court) Jimutbahan Biswas in Krishnagar,the headquarters of Nadia district in south Bengal, pronounced Bijon Sil, a 50-year old barber, guilty of sexually assaulting an 8-year old girl and sent him to five years in prison for the crime he committed on December 6.
“We have never heard such a speedy trial. Both the prosecution and the judge deserve to be congratulated,” Shyamal Ghosh, counsel of National Investigation Agency based in Kolkata told HT.
The crime was committed around midday and the culprit was arrested that day itself.
Police submitted the charge sheet just 72 hours later -- on December 9 and the trial began on December 12.
The judge acted with remarkable speed, finishing off a trial involving 14 witnesses by December 19. Hearings were held every day except December 18 which was a Sunday.
“We took it up as a special case. Submitting charge sheet in 72 hours is the fastest I have known. It will send a message to the society and the criminals that prosecution will act fast against them,” said Nadia police superintendent Sishram Jhajharia.
In the charge sheet, police slapped sections 376 (2)(i) of IPC (rape on a woman under 12 years of age) and section 10 (aggravated sexual assault) of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
At 3 pm on Tuesday, the judge announced the sentence -- five years imprisonment and Rs 10,000 fine -- and perhaps walked into the history books in the process. The judge said that the charges of rape were not applicable as penetration did not take place. Instead, charges of sexual assault were upheld.
If he failed to pay the fine, Sil has to serve three more months in jail, the judge said.
“I have spent a number of years in the profession. But I have never heard that a case can be disposed off so quickly,” said public prosecutor Nasiruddin Ahmed.
Sil protested his conviction. “I am a cardiac patient. I am innocent and have been framed,” he told the court.
Sil forced himself on the girl when she was alone in the house in Najirapara, a neighbourhood in Krishnagar.
Sil visited the house to give the girl’s grandfather a shave as he had been doing for some time. When he found none except the child in the house, he pounced on her.
The neighbours caught him in the act and handed him over to the police. The complaint was lodged by the grandmother of the victim.
Justice At Lightning Speed
Dec 6: Barber Bijon Sil, 50, arrested for raping 8-year old in Krishnagar
Dec 9: Police submits charge sheet
Dec 12: Trial begins
Dec 19: Trial ends, 14 witnesses deposed
Dec 20: Judge pronounces verdict and sentence